The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacer series has been interesting to watch, even if the quality of basketball being played has been generally inconsistent. Hard fouls, choke signs, arguing with a coach, poor officiating, flying elbows, injuries, and plenty of whining has given Chuck, Ernie, Kenny, and Shaq plenty to talk about! However, for me, one of the best parts of the series has been the opportunity to watch Tyler Hansbrough and to reminisce about an experience I had several years ago.
My sons and I happened to be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and we wanted to try to get into the Dean Smith Center to check things out. Unfortunately we got there in the evening and everything was locked up tight. Knowing we might not ever have the opportunity again, we started walking around the building and tried to open every single locked door. As luck would have it there was some construction being done on one of the back entrances and there was an extension cord keeping a door from completely closing.
The three of us walked in and found ourselves seemingly all alone in the cavernous Dean Dome. After several high fives we headed straight towards the court but as soon as we opened the door we realized that there was someone else in there too. It was Tyler Hansbrough! He wasn’t an All American yet, at least not on paper.
The guy we knew from television as “Psycho T” was doing full court squat lunges by himself, back and forth, in the semi darkness. He followed those up by pushing a huge (and obviously heavy) box from endline to endline. Then came defensive slides, Superman’s, and full court sprints – all done at full speed and with maximum intensity. No teammates. No coaches. No media. My sons and I just wanted to see the Dean Dome and we ended up seeing much, much more than that as we must have sat silently in the shadows for over an hour!
Six months later we watched every UNC game possible on television and every time an announcer went on and on about how hard Psych T worked I couldn’t help but think “If you only knew. . . “